Ballet's vilest villains
Ballet has its fair share of villains who have become as well-known as the heroes and heroines they put in such utter misery. But face it, these scoundrels have very important parts to play. For without these colorful personalities and their evil ways, life may just become so boring for the lead characters. Indeed, they add spice, sizzle and suspense to the story, intensifying the eternal fight between good and evil until – as is often what the audience expects – a happy ending is reached.
Ballet Manila toasts the villains who have made classical ballet favorites so wickedly interesting.
As the vengeful Queen of the Wilis in Giselle, Myrtha summons the spirits of women who have been wronged by men. It is an eerie picture as she leads this women in white tutus in a precise, synchronized dance. She welcomes Giselle to their circle and later on, exacts revenge for her by making her erring prince Albrecht dance through the night to his death. Dawna Reign Mangahas captured Myrtha's essence so perfectly in Giselle at Dance.MNL, sending chills down one's spine with her icy stare. Photo by Stan de la Cruz
In The Sleeping Beauty, Aurora is cursed by a wicked fairy for a perceived slight – not being invited to the baptism of the new princess. Carabosse intends for the princess to die when pricked by a spindle, but the good fairies counteract the curse by putting her in a deep sleep instead – to be woken when she is kissed by a prince. Carabosse – with her exaggeratedly grotesque face – is seen in The Sleeping Beauty excerpt featured in Gold, Lisa Macuja-Elizalde's 50th birthday show in 2014.
In Swan Lake, Rothbart is the flamboyant sorcerer who has cast a spell on Odette, doomed to transform into a swan by day and returning to human form at night. When Odette falls in love with Siegfried, Rothbart tricks the prince into believing that his own daughter Odile is Odette. The prince is deceived but ultimately, he and Odette foil the evil magician's plans by jumping into the lake and committing to their love. Rothbart leaps gleefully in the full-length Swan Lake in 2011.
Christmas Eve becomes a fantastic adventure for little girl Masha in The Nutcracker. She awakens to a world where the Christmas tree has suddenly become so much bigger, the nutcracker comes alive and she becomes witness to a battle like no other. Toy soldiers led by the nutcracker duel with a group of mice, led my the menacing Rat King. In the end, with Masha's help, the nutcracker subdues the Rat King. The royal rodent is carried aloft by his minions in 2013's The Nutcracker.
Perhaps there is no “queen of mean” more iconic that the Stepmother in Cinderella. In this beloved fairy tale, Cinderella is at the mercy of her wicked stepmother and stepsisters who make her do all the housechores while they lead pampered lives. When the palace hosts a grand ball, the stepmom fusses over her daughters so they can attend in their fanciest gowns. Little does she know that Cinderella will be there too, thanks to her fairy godmother. In Sinderela (2012), Jonathan Janolo (right) is the preening stepmother to “daughters” played by Gerardo Francisco (left) and Michael Divinagracia. Jonathan reprises the role when Ballet Manila presents the world premiere of its latest version of Cinderella in late November.